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Very Large Historic Cochiti Pueblo Storage Jar


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The historic period of pueblo pottery has been defined as beginning with the first contact with Europeans in 1540, the reasoning being that it was the Europeans who began documenting events, creating a history of the area, which was a logical beginning of the historic pottery period.  At that time, pueblo potters made pottery for their own use and as a trade item to members of other pueblos or tribes.


With the arrival of the Spanish, the market for pueblo pottery greatly increased as it was easier and smarter to procure pottery from local pueblo potters than to wait for imports to arrive on the Camino Real from Mexico City, a journey that took over 6 months to complete.  New shapes and new sizes of pottery were developed to satisfy the needs of the new markets.  Large storage jars were standard measurements of volume to facilitate trade of wheat or grains to the market.  In some cases, the historic jar in which the grain was stored was given with the sale of the grain as it was considered only a container of the product being sold.  One wonders if the purchaser of a jar full of grain used the product then discarded the container.


This very large storage jar is from the 1840-1850 period from Cochiti Pueblo.  It is very globular in shape and has a rounded bottom, typical of mid-century storage jars.  The designs are typical of those from the periodsimple, uncluttered and elegant.  A storage jar of this period and size is extremely rare.  The ones that do exist are mostly safely stored in museum collections.


Condition: the bottom of the jar has been broken into several pieces and reassembled.  The breakage was limited to only the lower section of the jar.

Recommended Reading: A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti & Santo Domingo Pueblos

Provenance:  from the collection of John R. Elkins family from Aspen, Colorado

close up view of side panel design

C3758A-storage.jpgC3758A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.